How 2017 is Inspired by Two Gomers

There’s this podcast I listen to called Two Gomers Run for Their Lives. It is made by “two regular guys trying to live healthier, and bringing a Nation along for the run.” That quote says so much about the hosts of the podcast but it does not fully capture why my 2017 is inspired by them.

Pocasts are a niche entertainment medium that’s only been around for a decade or so. The Two Gomers podcasts, in all the iterations/seasons, has been around for 8 years. That makes them pioneers in the genre yet their audience is only a small niche of the niche. The thing about that is we are a dedicated fan base and it gives us a chance to interact in small ways with the guys.

The Gomers are Anthony (Gomer1) and Steven (Gomer2). They are long-time friends from Wisconsin that were a year apart in school and are about 8 or 9 years my junior. They started the podcast as a way to hold themselves accountable for becoming healthier. Of course, they set out to be entertaining because people were listening. My guess is they set out to be somewhat inspirational too. I’m sure they did not expect to impact so many in such a profound way.

The thing is these really are regular guys. The podcast is an unintended chronicle of their lives. (I encourage you to check them out on iTunes or Unpaid plug!)

You get to know Anthony, who lives in Florida, and Steven, who lives “all the way out in Flagstaff, Arizona,” in a meaningful way. Now, you cannot know them completely through a podcast and I’m sure they don’t tell us everything, but they share a lot. The way they put themselves out there is brave in a way that is difficult to explain. I think it is because they are authentic, genuine, in a way that is so endearing that you are drawn into their world and the hours of listening go by in a flash.

If you are tuning into their podcast to listen to two guys go from the couch to hardcore runners, you will be disappointed. If you want to be thoroughly entertained by two guys figuring out running while telling you about their evolving families, and some quirky segments that have zero to do with running and really make the podcast great, then tune in and listen!

I’m not going to recap everything about the Gomers show because this is not a podcast review. Instead, I’m going to share with you why these two men I do not know have influenced me to be better in 2017.

My word for 2017, inspired by the Gomers, is authentic. That’s the best word I can use to describe them and it captures what I want to be. 

Anthony and Steven are genuine and transparent. When they didn’t run, they really never gave excuses. They told us why and owned it. When life got in the way, they told us about it. When one slacked off, the other was right there to encourage and support while never becoming preachy (pun intended Steven, if you ever read this). 

It is clear that family and faith come first to both of them. Fitness is used as a tool to make those aspects of life better. Humor and self-deprecation are used as tools to work through their struggles. The humility comes through and is clearly authentic. 

This is all apparent to those of us in the Gomer Nation. Anthony and Steven set out to get themselves healthy and brought us on the journey. They have inspired a Nation as evidenced by the emails/posts/tweets they have read “LIVE on the air.” From the incredible woman who listened to their podcasts while receiving chemo-therapy to the writer who put in a Gomer reference on How I Met Your Mother. Whether personally serious or pop culture tribute, it is abundantly clear they have impacted so many people.

I’ve written to the Gomers and they’ve graciously mentioned me on the podcast a few times. They really loved it when my brother did his McRunner stuff and they talked about it quite a bit. By no means do they know me, but these small bits of kindness meant a lot.

Can you tell I’m a fan yet? Hopefully it isn’t too much because I don’t need any restraining orders!

I realize I know them only in a cursory way through the podcast. Yet the part they let us see is so inspiring, so authentic, that I want to strive to be more like them in 2017. Here’s why.

Through the years, the Gomers were everything I said above. Then they got to a point where they had to decide whether or not to continue. They let us in on this process. It was raw and emotional. It was a side of them we had glimpsed but now were privy to in a whole new way.

This transparency is what got me. If you had never listened before and picked up this episode, you may have thought the guys over-dramatic and contrived. As a member of the Nation, we knew that this was reality and they were really struggling with what to do.

Most people would want a stamp on the end and a real decision made. Instead, Anthony and Steven did something real, something so… Gomer. They decided the podcast was ending. Then they decided it was ending in its current form. Then they decided they would still do “specials” and would later come back to do a new podcast, maybe in a year or two. The reason they would come back is because they wanted to conquer a sub-5:00 marathon.

This process and “conclusion” was much more in line with how most of us would really come to a decision. Having an audience, so many of us would put an artificial end to the podcast or promise to continue halfheartedly. Not the Gomers and we’ve had several episodes since the end of the last season already. This just enhances their authenticity because it is like hearing occasionally from people you were close to in the past and nothing has really changed.

This transparency and authenticity is what I’ve been missing in my life. I have put up too many fronts, excuses and walls to be successful in the ways I want to. Well, in the ways I really need to. So, what will be different?

As much as I would love to follow in the Gomers footsteps and do a podcast, I am not sure if I can do it. It may happen, but I am self-aware enough to know this is a huge undertaking that I need to consider more before launching.

That leaves the blog. I will blog more often and more openly. I’ve been somewhat honest so far, but not enough to really make the long-term impact I need.

I am going to weigh myself daily. I think this slap in the face is what I need to help keep me on track. I started today and the reality is that I gained a ton of weight and am back to 227.6 pounds. The struggle is real and the scale don’t lie.

The rest is obvious – eat less, move more. I will have to track food. I can’t stand this aspect of the journey but there is no choice for me. 

Running is great and I’ll continue to do it. I need to add in strength and more HIIT to the routine. My engine needs a tuneup to get running more efficiently. It is going to be a lot of work. And I have to be honest and open while sharing what I am doing and, more importantly, NOT doing. If I only share the good, I fail.

In 2017, I vow to be authentic. I will be positive, but not pollyannaish. Failures are important in life and I need to embrace them. The Gomers have given me a roadmap of how to share openly and remain positive. Time to embrace my inner Gomer and find my voice to make 2017 the best year ever.

Anthony and Steven will continue the podcast, or not. If they do follow through on the sub-5:00 season, I will be at that race to run and encourage them. My guess is they will go for it, struggle, and have the best race of their lives, regardless of the time. That just seems to be who these guys are some 8 years after the podcast started. Thank you guys for inspiring me and showing me a great path.